Charlie's Diary

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Tue, 27 Jan 2004

How not to miss deadlines

... part 562: Do not install iLife '04 -- and especially do not install GarageBand -- until you've handed in the manuscript.

[Discuss mp3]

posted at: 22:54 | path: /writing | permanent link to this entry

Update on Dean

Looks like the original information about Dean and TCPA came from rather questionable sources -- the Register is referring to Declan McCullagh, who is not exactly noted for being a Democrat party partisan (clue: that was British understatement at work there). The stench of a political smear job hangs heavy over this story, although it's a worryingly plausible one in view of the historical association between Democrat politicans in the US and the mass media (specifically the RIAA and MPAA -- anyone else remember Senator Hollings' fun little CDBTPA proposal?).

NB: If you're new around here, kindly bear in mind that I am not an American. I don't get to vote in your elections, read your newspapers, or know all about the axes the various pundits are grinding (and whose necks they want to use them on). This was an enquiry for additional corroboration or refutation, not an attempt to disparage your candidate. If I wanted to diss your candidate I'd be comparing him to George W. Bush, a fellow who I feel was accurately characterised -- by Richard Dawkins -- as "an unelected and deeply stupid little oil spiv."

[Discuss politics]

posted at: 22:49 | path: /politics | permanent link to this entry

A definite 21st century moment

I just caught myself performing an incremental backup on one of my computers -- my mobile phone.

What I want to know is, where are my food pills and my jet pack?

[Discuss singularity]

posted at: 13:51 | path: /misc | permanent link to this entry

Singularities considered harmful

The article I wrote for Whole Earth Review is now online on my website. You can find it here: The Panopticon Singularity.

I wrote it in a spirit of contrarianism after seeing who else was on the list of contributors; I'm not a Bill Joy style singularity-phobe, but I do worry that we might be on course for one of these. (Quick, somebody reassure me!)

[Discuss singularity]

posted at: 12:05 | path: /sing | permanent link to this entry

Wrongheaded Dean

I've tried to stay away from talking about the US election process this year, because (a) I don't get to vote in it and (b) my preference should be obvious (anyone except Bush). However I've been watching the Democratic primaries with some interest. A lot of people I like and respect are leaning towards Dean, and indeed if I was an American voter I'd probably be voting for him.


The Register has got the skinny on a Dean policy that is so screamingly at odds with individual freedom that if I was an American voter (I'm going to stop saying that qualifier from here on in, but try to bear it in mind) I'd have to consider it a stinking black mark against him, as bad as taking the wrong position on reproductive rights or the right to keep and bear arms; indeed, it's the internet geek equivalent of coming out and saying "I believe abortion is evil and must be banned" (Democrat candidate) or "guns? civilians don't need guns" (Republican candidate).

... a speech that Dean gave to a conference co-sponsored by Wave Systems in March 2002 entitled "Workshop on States Security: Identity, Authentication, Access Control" reported by Declan McCullagh at CNET today, on the eve of the New Hampshire primary.

In the speech, which you can read on Wave Systems website, Dean describes privacy as an "urban myth" and explains "little has been spent to secure the most vulnerable part of the network - the PC, the laptop, the government and corporate desktop computers - all at the perimeter of the computer network system." Yes, it's the national security angle that TCPA-vendors have been peddling, with the active encouragement of the law enforcement lobby.

The Register points the finger of guilt at campaign manager, Joe Trippi: "Trippi was a stockholder, employee and booster for Wave Systems, the company contracted by Intel to implement TCPA (Trusted Computing Platform Alliance) specifications. Microsoft's implementation of this architecture was unveiled as 'Palladium' two years ago; now it's called NGSCB."

Let's get this straight: TCPA is spy-in-the-box technology. You won't be able to boot an operating system or run an application which isn't cryptographically signed by the vendor. You won't be able to download and use content that isn't cryptographically signed by the copyright holder. It's the copyright fascist's wet dream, an end to open computing. It's one step away from keystroke loggers feeding everything you type or mouse straight to the NSA for analysis. And Dean wants this? I'll go further: if it happened it would be the first major step towards a Panopticon Singularity (about which I'll be posting a lengthy essay on Cyborg Democracy later today).

I really hope there's some mistake, because if not, this policy is going to play with Dean's internet-savvy supporters about the way that coming out in favour of banning all handguns along British lines would play with the NRA. It's shoot-self-in-foot with guided missile time. This is so hostile to the public interest (in the narrow sense of the general public, little guys like me and thee, not the big corporate interests that usually dominate US politics), and the grass-roots internet campaigners who've backed him so far that I've just got to wonder if the DLC have gotten their hands on Karl Rove's orbital mind control lasers. Unbelievable! And I don't mean that in a good way.

[Discuss politics]

posted at: 10:41 | path: /politics | permanent link to this entry


Is SF About to Go Blind? -- Popular Science article by Greg Mone
Unwirer -- an experiment in weblog mediated collaborative fiction
Inside the MIT Media Lab -- what it's like to spend a a day wandering around the Media Lab
"Nothing like this will be built again" -- inside a nuclear reactor complex

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Some webby stuff I'm reading:

Engadget ]
Gizmodo ]
The Memory Hole ]
Boing!Boing! ]
Futurismic ]
Walter Jon Williams ]
Making Light (TNH) ]
Crooked Timber ]
Junius (Chris Bertram) ]
Baghdad Burning (Riverbend) ]
Bruce Sterling ]
Ian McDonald ]
Amygdala (Gary Farber) ]
Cyborg Democracy ]
Body and Soul (Jeanne d'Arc)  ]
Atrios ]
The Sideshow (Avedon Carol) ]
This Modern World (Tom Tomorrow) ]
Jesus's General ]
Mick Farren ]
Early days of a Better Nation (Ken MacLeod) ]
Respectful of Otters (Rivka) ]
Tangent Online ]
Grouse Today ]
Hacktivismo ]
Terra Nova ]
Whatever (John Scalzi) ]
Justine Larbalestier ]
Yankee Fog ]
The Law west of Ealing Broadway ]
Cough the Lot ]
The Yorkshire Ranter ]
Newshog ]
Kung Fu Monkey ]
S1ngularity ]
Pagan Prattle ]
Gwyneth Jones ]
Calpundit ]
Lenin's Tomb ]
Progressive Gold ]
Kathryn Cramer ]
Halfway down the Danube ]
Fistful of Euros ]
Orcinus ]
Shrillblog ]
Steve Gilliard ]
Frankenstein Journal (Chris Lawson) ]
The Panda's Thumb ]
Martin Wisse ]
Kuro5hin ]
Advogato ]
Talking Points Memo ]
The Register ]
Cryptome ]
Juan Cole: Informed comment ]
Global Guerillas (John Robb) ]
Shadow of the Hegemon (Demosthenes) ]
Simon Bisson's Journal ]
Max Sawicky's weblog ]
Guy Kewney's mobile campaign ]
Hitherby Dragons ]
Counterspin Central ]
MetaFilter ]
NTKnow ]
Encyclopaedia Astronautica ]
Fafblog ]
BBC News (Scotland) ]
Pravda ]
Meerkat open wire service ]
Warren Ellis ]
Brad DeLong ]
Hullabaloo (Digby) ]
Jeff Vail ]
The Whiskey Bar (Billmon) ]
Groupthink Central (Yuval Rubinstein) ]
Unmedia (Aziz Poonawalla) ]
Rebecca's Pocket (Rebecca Blood) ]

Older stuff:

June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004
September 2004
August 2004
July 2004
June 2004
May 2004
April 2004
March 2004
February 2004
January 2004
December 2003
November 2003
October 2003
September 2003
August 2003
July 2003
June 2003
May 2003
April 2003
March 2003
February 2003
January 2003
December 2002
November 2002
October 2002
September 2002
August 2002
July 2002
June 2002
May 2002
April 2002
March 2002
(I screwed the pooch in respect of the blosxom entry datestamps on March 28th, 2002, so everything before then shows up as being from the same time)

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